In honor of this weekend's race at the shortest track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, wish me luck as I try to keep each thought short in this Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing preview to a single sentence.
The 0.526-mile oval of Martinsville Speedway is a paperclip-shaped, mini-version of New Hampshire Motor Speedway that has tight turns and requires strong driving skills to make passes in the limited window of opportunity.
Even more so than Bristol, lap-down cars can become moving chicanes on this short, tight track and cause issues for drivers either leading or chasing the leader.
With skill being of the essence in this race, team managers should have no second thoughts about starting the best drivers in the STP Gas Booster 500.
- #2 Brad Keselowski - While Bad Brad's never recorded a top-five at Martinsville, he has three top-10s in six starts at the track.
- #24 Jeff Gordon - He was poised to pick up his eighth-career Martinsville win last April before some late-race shenanigans knocked him out.
- #48 Jimmie Johnson - Like Gordon, Johnson has seven wins at the track and a jaw-dropping 19 top-10s in 22 starts.
- #11 Denny Hamlin - For those living in a cave: the man with four Martinsville wins is out for the next month and a half with a compression fracture in his back.
- #11 Mark Martin - Filling in for Hamlin in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry, Martin should have a car capable of truly making this Martin's ville.
- #39 Ryan Newman - The Rocketman's win last April was his first at Martinsville, but with an average finish of 13.6 on the short track, it was likely not his last.
- #55 Brian Vickers - He gets the chance to race the No. 55 each week with Martin in the 11 and started both of last year's Martinsville races in the top-10.
- #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. - It's about time that the driver with 10 top-fives in 26 races at the track finally found his way to victory lane.
- #16 Greg Biffle - The Biff has never registered a top-five in 20 starts at the track, so it's definitely one of his worst.
- #27 Paul Menard - He might sit eighth in points, but he hasn't registered so much as a top-10 at Martinsville in 11 starts.
- #13 Casey Mears - With few options on the list this week, Mears is worth considering thanks to two top-10s in his last nine Martinsville starts.
- #51 Regan Smith - The No. 51 was doing well with AJ Allmendinger behind the wheel, so it appears to be one of the C-List's few good options.
- #10 Danica Patrick - She really needs to be more consistent before I'd consider her a viable fantasy option again.
Drivers are listed by car number and not necessarily in rank order.
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